The Turquoise Trail Dimensions for Reconstruction

Citizens Advisory Committee (NM 14 CAC) Report and Suggested Action:

Thank the NMDOT for recent good Context Sensitive Design (CSD) decisions--May 2004!!

An Outcrop the NMDOT has agreed to save

   North of Madrid, NM beyond the old s-curve -- April 6, 2004, photo by RL


     Good News: The once contentious proposal to widen to 12 feet the original 10 foot paved driving lanes through much of the valley has been modified. The NMDOT has pledged to widen to a paved driving lane width of 11 feet throughout. This decision has a basis in safety as well as context. Regarding safety, study of nationwide data (Noland 2001-3) show that fatalities increase when the lanes of "rural collectors" like NM 14 are widened beyond 11 ft. Also 11 ft. lanes better fit the context of this narrow valley portion of the Byway. (See "traffic calming").

     The NM Department of Transportation started "phase one" (Madrid to Cerrillos) reconstruction of NM 14 this Spring, April of 2004. Phase one is covering the portion starting just north of the Madrid ballpark and extends north to Los Cerrillos, rebuilding the Galisteo Creek bridge and railroad trestle at Cerrillos. There have been conscious design efforts to lessen the impact of construction through the narrow valley between the villages.

     The CAC has long sought Context Sensitive Design Solutions (CSD or CSS) within the design and variation in the different elements of it with much success. More: Five Recommendations for CSD Law

     Unlike earlier proposals (10 years ago), the plan now better follows the current roadbed. The major "S-Curve" however is being aligned for a broader curve, and there will be straightening along the Rodgersville Road area.

     The shoulders are to be 4 ft wide using an asphalt treatment of an earthen coloration to better define the lanes and blend with the roadside.

     Where there are guardrails the colored treated asphalt will stop at the back edge of the posts. Vegetation will then be encouraged behind the posts. The guardrails will be made of "weathering" coated steel.

     Where there are not guardrails, tapers currently are planned to be 6 ft and "duffed" with earth, mixed with organic matter to encourage vegetation.

     There have been discussions to confine the construction disturbance within defined boundaries to minimize impacts to the roadside. These boundaries appear to be well marked. The CAC is in agreement with the DOT and the Project Engineers (and contractors) that the community's concerns are valid and that there will be REAL monitoring. NMDOT Project Engineer: Habib Abi-Khalil 505-980-1535.


--Citizen Action--Thank the NMDOT for CSD Pledge

    Thank the NMDOT (listed below) for their pledge to "maintain a context sensitive approach to the final constructed roadway", and to have one consistent typical paved section throughout the NM 14 project of 11 foot lanes, and 4 foot shoulders. [see: NMDOT letter to CAC--a response to NM 14 CAC requests.

    Also thank Governor Richardson, your representatives, and the NMDOT officials listed below for supporting Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) for NM 14.

    And thanks to ALL OF YOU! who have written letters and called NMDOT and government representatives.


Please include thanks to:

--Governor Bill Richardson, Office of the Governor, State Capitol, Room 400, Santa Fe, NM 87501; FAX Governor Richardson at FAX: 476-2226; or if you E-mail the Governor, have your message ready to clip into the form.

--Ned Farquhar, the Governor's Aide on this issue. Email: <>

--Rep. Rhonda King, Email: <>

* * & NM Department of Transportation (NMDOT) officials! * *

--Secretary Rhonda Faught, Email: <>

--Andres Aragon Viamonte, Design Engineer at the NMDOT: FAX 877-5115, or Email: <>

--Robert Ortiz, Deputy Secretary for Operations, NMDOT, District 5: Ph. 827-5106; FAX 827-5115, or Email: <>

--John McElroy, P.E., NMDOT, District 5, Email: <>

Lanes in diagram--Existing and Proposed

    The current EXISTING lanes are around 10 ft wide with variable shoulders. A PROPOSED design plan widens the lanes to 11 feet between Madrid and Cerrillos.


--"Existing" 10 ft lanes (above) are being replaced by "proposed" 11 ft lanes (below)--


    Colored asphalt will stop at the back edge of the posts. Vegetation will then be encouraged behind the posts. The guardrails will be made of "weathering" coated steel.


    CAC members are seeking an CSD alternative that allows the "duffing" (compost) to come up to the edge of the shoulder, rather than the asphalt as depicted below. The CAC also would like flexibility to be used in determining the width of the taper related to the context.

To: NM-14 S-curve, proposed design

To: PRECEDENTS of Restrictions on Through-Trucks

To: NM14 CAC Letters of Record

To: NM14 Construction Design and Liability, a brief by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center

To: Portions of the Turquoise Trail lost!

To Resources for Saving America's Rural Roads and Communities--a listing.

Email CAC

Page managed by RIII, member of CAC

Page last updated: May 16, 2004